Influenza striking Colorado

Moffat County Clinic has identified cases in Northwest Colorado

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Although it has yet to strike Moffat County on a large scale, Colorado has seen widespread influenza activity, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Susan Bowler, a nurse at the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, said cases of influenza have been identified at the Moffat County Clinic, and people should be aware that the sickness is out there.

As of Jan. 5, 185 cases of laboratory confirmed influenza were reported to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, making Colorado the only state that can be identified as having widespread influenza activity.

The department warns that the total number of reported cases can be misleading, and the total number of cases is usually significantly higher, because the majority of ill people do not seek medical care or are not treated for the disease.

Bowler said people need to be aware of the illness, and know that preventive measures can be taken.

"We want to let people know it's not too late to get a flu shot," Bowler said.

The V.N.A. will set up a flu shot station from 4 to 6 p.m., Jan. 17 at City Market."

Drop-ins are also welcome at the V.N.A. from 3:30 to 4:30 Monday through Thursday.

People are encouraged to come during those times, but if they can't, they can get a flu shot any time.

"We're not going to turn someone away who comes in for a flu shot at another time," Bowler said.

Depending on the turnout at City Market, more flu shot clinics may be offered.

"If the response is significant we'll set up another one in the community," Bowler said. "We want people to feel like they have enough chances to get a vaccination."

For those not sure if they already have the flu, a bad cold or other sickness, Bowler said flu symptoms are easy to identify, and usually pretty severe.

"When you get the flu you have a high fever, your muscles ache and it hurts to even move your eyes," she said.

Other simple preventative measures that can be taken to avoid the flu this season include:

Avoiding sick people.

Washing hands frequently.

Drinking plenty of fluids and getting plenty of rest.

For more information, or to schedule a flu shot, contact the V.N.A. at 824-8233.

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